With more and more people choosing to take up cycling for pleasure, there is an ever-growing need for people to be able to transport their bikes safely and securely when heading off on cycling trips. This has naturally coincided with more people seeking active holidays.
As committed long-term cyclists we’ve thought long and hard about what keeps your bike intact and protected when it’s being transported. Here are our Top 7 Tips to think about when you transport your bike.
1. Think carefully
There are different options for bike transportation and once you’ve chosen one you’ll probably end up sticking with it if it works well. So put some serious thought into what works best for you before you attempt anything.
2. Read carefully
If you’re traveling abroad especially, make sure you are fully up to date with the law on bicycling and transporting bikes where you are going. What works in one country doesn’t necessarily work in another. Portugal does not legally permit boot-mounted bike racks, for example.
3. Insure carefully
Make sure that you have factored in transporting your bike with your car in the same way you would insure any vacation. It’s always worth checking your insurance policies for both your car and your bike when you are planning your journey options.
4. Think about a tow bar bike mount
This might not be the ideal model of transport for everyone, but for regular transporters of bikes then a tow bar bike mount secured to the back of your vehicle might well be a good option. It is one of the more expensive options because you would have to invest in a rear electrical supply for the lighting board and number plate. So this option really only appeals to those undertaking this sort of journey pretty regularly.
5. Get yourself a roof rack
This is usually a more popular option. There are different types of roof bike racks out there, but the one thing they have in common is that they are usually pretty easy to fit. Depending on the size of your car, you may be able to fit up to four bikes on a roof rack. The forms in which the bikes are secured to the racks can vary depending on the brand which you purchase, but they are often based on clamp systems that are very secure.
There are two things to bear in mind when using a roof rack and they both relate to height – remember the added height of your vehicle with the mounted bikes and factor that into your route planning, including avoiding low bridges; and make sure that at least one of your party is actually tall enough to have enough reach to secure the bikes properly! These may sound like obvious points to make, but you’d be surprised how easy they are to overlook.
6. Explore a boot-mounted rack
If these height issues are a problem, you’d be much better looking for a boot-mounted bike carrier or hitch rack. This option is pretty practical and is equally secure, especially when transporting heavier bikes. Multiple bike hitch racks are probably the most versatile way to carry several bikes. As with roof racks, there will be a clear mechanism to secure your bike to the boot.
One small consideration if you decide on this model of bike transporting is that you need to always remember the bike is there and make sure you’ve factored in the bike to your continual access to your rear-view mirror. Make sure also that the bikes you’ve secured don’t obstruct either your brake lights or number plate either, as these could both be interpreted as traffic violations and get you fined and into trouble.
7. Dismantle your bike?
While this might not be an option for everyone, especially if you don’t have a big enough car or jeep to carry a dismantled bike, for those people who can dismantle a bike and transport it in that way then this is another option. Wheels can be easily stacked on top of one another and a dismantled bike takes up a lot less space than you might imagine it would.
But while there are benefits to transporting a bike in this way, there can also be added risks, as there would be when you are transporting anything bulky or unusual within your vehicle. Some people like to use octopus straps as these properly secure the bike parts and add to safety. Others favor a bike bag that can hold the different parts and ensure none of them jut out. For anyone choosing to transport a bike within a car or other personal moving vehicle regularly, investing in either an octopus strap or a bike bag is probably a wise move.
So good luck! If you make sure you’ve read up and thought through your options though, transporting your bike should be easy enough, and should open up many new holiday options for you.